ISI 2005-19. Dorstenia gigas Schwein. ex Balf

The genus Dorstenia consists of some 170 species of mostly tropical herbs and shrubs belonging to the Moraceae or fig family. A few E African, Arabian and Indian species are distinctly succulent. D. gigas is the extreme of that tendency, forming massive pachycaulous trunks to 2 m or more tall and 60 cm in diameter. (See the Nov-Dec 2002 cover of the Cactus and Succulent Journal.) What unites this diverse group of growth forms is the distinctive inflorescence of the genus. This is analogous to an exploded fig with a number of female flowers surrounded by males, borne on a fleshy receptacle (unisexual in a few species). Radiating from this are fleshy bracts that in D. gigas are short, stubby, finger-like projections. Culture is similar to that mentioned above for Dendrosicyos though D. gigas is much more adaptable at a young age to more typical xeric succulent conditions. HBG 91548, from controlled pollination of UC Davis # BAA.223, a plant received in 1982 from Leo Song at Cal State Fullerton, and B 67.396, UCBG 67.480, collected by J Lavranos in the Haggier Mtns, Socotra. $30.

Photo © 2005 by Ernesto Sandoval. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 77 (2), March - April, 2005